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Planning commission forwards airport overlay to council

The Sunnyside Planning Commission voted to accept and recommend to the Sunnyside City Council an airport overlay zoning district to be added to the city's municipal code.

The purpose of the document is to establish an airport overlay zoning district on properties located on or near the Sunnyside airport. The intent is to protect the health, welfare, safety and quality of life of the general public, property owners, airport operators and the aviation community. The document will also ensure compatible land uses in the vicinity.

The planning commission has spent a considerable amount of time working on the overlay. The most recent work on the chapter dealt with language. Throughout the document any language dealing with property outside the city limits was removed.

Sunnyside City Planner Jamey Ayling said this was done because the city of Sunnyside has no jurisdiction over these properties.

A public hearing was held on the document but no comments were made to the commissioners. After the public hearing was closed Chairman Brent Cleghorn said he couldn't support the document because of the aggressive approach the document takes against property owners in the overlay zone.

"The overlay is bigger than what it should be," he said. "I don't think it's a fair document."

Two things ruffled Cleghorn's feathers. One was a sentence he said was in the document at least four times.

The sentence he didn't like read, Where the requirements imposed by the surface and safety zones conflict with the requirements of the underlying zoning, the more restrictive requirement shall be enforced.

This, he said, could affect property owners and could prevent them from making improvements to their land. Furthermore, he said, some of these property owners don't even know they will be affected.

Another problem Cleghorn had with the document was a 1,000 foot border in zone five. Cleghorn noted that concessions were made for each zone except zone five. He believes this was done to single out one individual and punish him.

That individual is Don Padelford, who wants to develop property he owns next to the airport. The overlay prevents him from doing this.

But Commissioner Francisco Guerrero said he thought the document was fair. He said he thought the airport overlay will make any development of the airport in the future easier.

The planning commission voted 3-1 to forward the document onto the city council. Cleghorn was the lone no vote. Guerrero, Vice-chairperson De Ann Hochhalter and Commissioner Jeff Barrom voted yes.

The commission was supposed to elect a new chairman and vice-chairman at last night's meeting, but due to two commissioners being absent, the vote was moved to next month.

The planning commission will next meet on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

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